After years of false starts Canary Wharf College Glenworth has officially opened its purpose built primary school on the Isle Of Dogs.
Hundreds of parents, children and staff gathered to celebrate the launch which will give an educational home to 260 pupils from September.
It has been four years in the making with executive principal and founder of the free school Sarah Counter fighting on through numerous let downs, including the resignation of at least three project managers.
Until now pupils have been housed in temporary Portacabins which Sarah said they “took in their stride”.
But on Friday, May 19 the ribbon was finally cut by Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs and families got a first look at the new site designed by architect Alfie Padro.
It complements the original Canary Wharf College primary school in East Ferry Road and secondary school, which opened in September 2016.
Sarah told guests: “What a journey it has been.
“We have had our moments with the Education Funding Agency but we must thank them for spending £3million on this tiny plot of land and millions more that’s gone into the building of this beautiful school.
“I would particularly like to thank our chief finance officer Peter Young who has quietly weathered this storm through thick and thin.
“We have walked a whole range of emotions together over the years but eventually we got here.
“Each school has highs and lows but surely today is a real mountain peak, not just for Canary Wharf College Trust but for the community as a whole.
“We hope you enjoy this school for many years to come.”
It includes two Reception classes and 12 general teaching classes with interactive screens, an art room, science room, rooftop play area and library with books donated by guest at the ceremony.
The school received 200 applications for 40 Reception places this year and demand looks set to grow with the numerous residential developments being built on the island.
Mayor Biggs said: “All our children deserve and excellent education. Tower Hamlets is a vibrant place that is growing rapidly.
“Most of my days are spent dealing with bad things, if it’s not a problem it doesn’t come to me.
“But the good news about being here today is that this isn’t a problem it’s a solution.”
From September the school will house 180 primary aged pupils from Reception to year four, 80 secondary pupils from years 7 and 8 and more than 20 members of staff.
Head of school Catherine Willcox said she was “excited and relieved” to see it finally open.
Chair of governors Martin Griffiths gave thanks to everyone who helped make the building a reality including the Friends of Canary Wharf College Glenworth and Dr Trevor Lee and the Francis Terry Foundation.
“A boy from Canning Town Dr Lee shared our vision for the school and gave a grant in memory of his parents as his father worked on the island.
“How very appropriate that parents and children are sharing this important occasion.
“”We are a family at Canary Wharf College, one that is part of this community and one that believes in the true value of education.”
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